E-Mobility still a long way from powering the smart grid

Posted on 14 October 2013

  • Aside from E-mobility, multiple energy storage technologies are available now, but need further development
  • New government policies must match innovations in energy storage
  • Businesses must pay for the R&D of new energy storage technologies


Daegu, South Korea, 14 October 2013 -

Technological advances in energy storage could reshape the way we procure and consume power, according to session participants at the World Energy Congress, Daegu 2013 on Monday. One hypothetical method is to replenish proposed “smart grids” with surplus electricity collected from automobiles that run on renewable resources. However, E-Mobility, as its known, faces many obstacles as well as competition from other technologies that cast doubt over its viability.

First and foremost is the cost of implementing the E-mobility system itself. For E-Mobility or any other form of energy storage to enter the market, developers must shoulder the expenses, says Klaus Wucherer, President of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in Switzerland. “If this is a real business, then companies should pay for R&D”, he says. Wucherer notes that as international standards are adopted, the cost of storage technologies will eventually come down.

Joël François Mesot, President of the Swiss-based Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) said that sources of affordable energy that can be stored might lie in compressed hydrogen or methane technologies. “We have the technologies,”although they may need to be developed further.

Whatever the source energy might be, says Friedrich Seitz, President of European Site and Verbund 
Management at Germany’s BASF, new technological innovations are an environmental necessity. “If we want to use E-mobility to reduce greenhouse gases, power has to come from renewable resources’, he says.

The problem with fully realizing the potential for E-Mobility or any other form of energy storage is that it “is difficult (for observers and politicians) to wrap hands around and there is a poor understanding of the capabilities of the technologies”, says the CEO of Canada’s Temporal Power, Cameron Carver. “Technological innovation is only part of the story”, he says. Governments must form “smart policies” to transform renewable resources into storable energy that can one day supply the “smart grids”.

Sossina Haile, who lectures in materials science and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology notes that while E-Mobility still seems a long way off, she says we shouldn’t lose hope regarding E-Mobility or any other form of new energy storage. “Technologies take awhile to come to fruition”, she says. But, “ultimately there is progress”.


This news story is based on the Game Changer session, “Energy Storage: Defining the future for e-Mobility and renewables”, at the 2013 World Energy Congress.